Howlett captures spring 2022 Finley award

April 29, 2022
From left, Erika Howlett, Ainsley Thomas and Paige Johnson

From left, Erika Howlett, Ainsley Thomas and Paige Johnson

Three students from the School of Journalism have won scholarships after participating in the spring 2022 Mark Finley Gold Pen Award for Best Beginning News Writer Contest on April 28.

Erika Howlett captured first place and a scholarship of $1,000. Ainsley Thomas took second and a $750 scholarship. Paige Johnson received third and a $500 scholarship. They and the other participants will receive an engraved gold pen.

Twelve students selected from Professor Fred Brock’s two JOUR 205 classes participated in the contest, which required students to write stories in the Harelson Lab with a one-hour deadline.

The students listened to and interviewed Tucson Police Capt. John Leavitt about the current wave of drug overdose and fentanyl use in southern Arizona. Leavitt is commander of the Counter Narcotics Alliance, comprised of state, local, county and federal law enforcement agencies. Leavitt, a UA alum, is also an adjunct instructor in the UA School of Public Administration and Policy.

Judging the students' work were Rachel Mosteller, the J-school's outreach assistant, and J-school alums Caitlin Schmidt ('14) and Jesse Tellez ('20) from the Arizona Daily Star.

The contest is named for the late Mark Finley, a 1934 UA graduate who was a journalist and assistant to the publisher of Hearst’s Boston newspaper for 17 years.

Past Finley winners

Capt. John Leavitt talks to Finley Contest students

Capt. John Leavitt of the Tucson Police Department talks to students at the Finley Gold Pen news writing contest in Marshall 342.

Photo by Mike Chesnick